Irish Rail has rowed back on plans to make Castlebar train station completely automatic, but the number of staff at the station is to be reduced from three to two.

That was confirmed by an Irish Rail representative, who addressed  this week's monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

Cathaoirleach of the Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne has welcomed the news, insisting an automated train station in Castlebar would not be acceptable, as people with mobility issues often require assistance to board or disembark from the train.

He also pointed out that the ticket machine at the station is sometimes out of order.

The company explained that there will be an increase in on-board staff on all train services.  

Irish Rail also explained at the meeting that demand for train travel has increased significantly on the Westport-Dublin line over the past 3 years, and now stands at 580,000 passengers annually - up from 535,000 in 2016, and claims 87% of all train tickets are now bought online, rather than at a station.

Councillor Kilcoyne claimed the company often provides a poor service for customers, who are left standing at busy times, and he said all customers should be entitled to a seat.

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